Chief Minister Jagadish Shettar on Tuesday said that the State government would urge Prime Minister Manmohan Singh at the Cauvery River Authority (CRA) meeting on September 19 to formulate a plan on sharing Cauvery waters in a distress situation by the riparian States.
Speaking to presspersons after a meeting with Floor Leaders in the Assembly Siddaramaiah, T.B. Jayachandra and H.D. Revanna and in the Council S.R. Patil on the issue, Mr. Shettar said that since 2002 the CRA had not taken any decision on formulating a distress sharing formula.
Water Resources Minister Basavaraj Bommai said that even though Karnataka had been asking the Prime Minister to evolve a formula for over five years, Tamil Nadu had not come forward with any opinion on the issue. Asked whether the formula would be a permanent one, Mr. Bommai said that it had to be evolved each year after studying the ground realities in both the States and their requirements.
To whether the Government would file an appeal before the Supreme Court against its interim arrangement for releasing 10,000 cusecs of water to Tamil Nadu, the Chief Minister said that the question did not arise as it was for a short period of nine days involving two tmcft of water. Mr. Shettar said that counsel F.S. Nariman and Mohan Kataraki had explained to the Supreme Court the difficult situation prevailing in 154 of the 176 taluks in the State due to severe drought and shortage of water. Of the drought-hit taluks, 45 were in the Cauvery basin and the State could not release water to Tamil Nadu, which was in a better position as it had 40 tmcft of water in its dams, including Mettur, and 30 tmcft of groundwater. More over, Tamil Nadu would get robust rainfall during the northeast monsoon.
He said that 7,500 cusecs of water was flowing to Mettur daily, and the Supreme Court’s order stipulates release of another 2,500 cusecs, which was a goodwill measure, and that it would be for a temporary period of nine days only. The Chief Minister made it clear that the interest of farmers would not be sacrificed at any cost.
The Chief Minister said that today’s meeting was convened to discuss the issues to be raised and evolve a stand to presented before the CRA, but as the Supreme Court had passed the interim order, another meeting of floor leaders would be held on September 15. Members of Parliament and Ministers from the State in the Union Cabinet would be invited to it.